Boston on film: A map to the spots that have starred on silver screens

Daisy Buchanan's on Newbury Street. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO
Photos by Nicolaus Czarnecki

Boston, you’re a photogenic city. And over the years, from the Copley Square bombing in 1994’s “Blown Away” to the constant brunching and Champagne clinking in 2008’s “The Women,” Back Bay has been a particularly hot urban film set. Here’s a map to just some of the locations that have scored some silver screen time. Feel free to take a walking tour — but don’t be surprised if you stumble onto a film set on your way.

Daisy Buchanan’s (240 Newbury St.)
There’s a colorful scene to be glimpsed every weekend at this stalwart Back Bay bar, albeit usually one that looks straight out of “Animal House.” But the crowds cleared out long enough for the spot to host a scene with Tommy Lee Jones, star of 2010’s “The Company Men,” about the dramas of getting downsized during a depression.

Sorellina (1 Huntington Ave.)
2012’s “Ted,” the Seth McFarlane comedy about a tender bromance between Mark Wahlberg and his bong-huffing childhood teddy bear, was not exactly known for its refinement. But in the scene where Wahlberg’s character treats his girlfriend (played by Mila Kunis) to an anniversary dinner, you’ll see them eating at this upscale Italian restaurant owned by Columbus Hospitality Group — which just opened a new seafood spot, Ostra, near the Public Garden. (Back Bay’s Midtown Motel at 220 Huntington Ave. was the setting of a very different scene: a hilariously protracted fight, full of ear yanking and eye gouging, between the boy and his bear.) 

Copley Square Library.PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Boston Public Library (700 Boylston St.)
Before you see the movie, you’ll want to read the book. (It’s probably better, whatever it is.) So you might as well check it out from the BPL, which has been the star of plenty of Hub-filmed flicks over the years. Some of its more recent appearances have been in 2009’s “The Pink Panther 2,” where it actually played the role of the Pope’s bedroom. (All it took was a few extra religious statues, and that marble gleamed like it was in Vatican City!) It’s also the setting of an elaborate chase scene from 2010’s “The Box,” a thriller starring Cameron Diaz and James Marsden as a couple who receive a million dollars every time they press a button in a mysterious box. (The hitch? Somewhere, a stranger dies. Boooo!)

Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel (138 St James Ave.)
Classically ornate and decked out in rich gold and red hues befitting that Boston Brahmin vibe, it’s no surprise that the Fairmont has been featured in quite a few films. A pre-Scientology-crazed Tom Cruise filmed the interview scene in 1992’s “The Firm” in the hotel’s Plaza Bar & Plaza Dining Room (now its OAK Long Bar + Kitchen). Because even hotels need body doubles, the Fairmont stood in for its sister property, NYC’s The Plaza, for 2009’s “Bride Wars” with Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway. (Hudson’s 2008 comedy “My Best Friend’s Girl” with Boston boy Dane Cook also filmed here.) And with its ballroom outfitted for cinema-worthy wedding, it was used for an elaborate dance sequence with Kevin James and Rosario Dawson in 2011’s “The Zookeeper.” (Spoiler: It’s the only scene worth watching.)

Shreve, Crump & Low (39 Newbury St.)
Remember “Mrs. Winterbourne”? OK, fair enough. Remember Ricki Lake? Slightly better. Among the film credits of the talk show host and occasional actress was that quaint little 1996 romance with Brendan Fraser that shot a few scenes in Beverly, Mass., and one quickie scene shopping here. Though, technically, the film was shot in Shreve’s former location at 440 Boylston St. (it moved to Newbury in 2011), which is now a Bank of America. So you’ll just have to pick which spot to which you should pay pilgrimage, you legions of “Mrs. Winterbourne” fanatics.

Sonsie on Newbury Street. PHOTO BY NICOLAUS CZARNECKI/METRO

Sonsie (327 Newbury St.)
Poor “Fever Pitch.” The well-timed valentine to true love between Jimmy Fallon, Drew Barrymore and the Red Sox (filmed during the 2004 World Series, which forced a rewrite of its ending) has become a punching bag of sorts. “It’s cheesy!” cinephiles complain, which is sort of like accusing a coloring book of having rudimentary illustrations. But it helped kick off the new wave of Boston-lensed films, and appropriately included a scene at one of the city’s more well known socializing spots: Sonsie, part of the Lyons Group of restaurants and nightlife venues. The filmmakers even named a minor character after principal Patrick Lyons.

Storyville (90 Exeter St.)
It may look a little different, now that it has been renovated and reopened as Storyville. But in its previous incarnation as bumping aughties nightclub Saint, the hot spot was featured in 2009’s “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past” with Matthew McConaughey as a man on the prowl. (The flick also shot at Sonsie.) They say that even with its classier new décor, on certain nights you can still hear the clinking of glasses sloshing with vodka cranberry, and the soft sound of bongos played by a naked actor of yore.

FLOR (236 Clarendon St.)
Right now, this storefront is occupied by FLOR: a carpet design showroom. But before they moved in, the then-empty storefront with its big, dramatic windows served as the bridal store featured in “What’s Your Number?” That 2011 Anna Faris comedy also starred two locals: Sudbury-raised Chris Evans (Captain America!) and Faris’ cinematic, wedding dress-shopping sister, Boston native Ari Graynor.

James Joseph Salon (30 Newbury St.)
Want to get your gold-y locks styled like the spawn of Goldie Hawn? Head here. Because not only did actress Kate Hudson and Anne Hathaway film all the salon primping scenes for the flick “Bride Wars” here, the stylists gave Hudson some actual styling. (Using Sebastian texturizer, if you’re curious.)


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